JAMES NORTON has cemented his reputation as "television gold" thanks to his 2016 CV, which boasts leading roles in Grantchester, Happy Valley and, of course, the cult television adaptation of War & Peace. But, while his acting pedigree precedes him (he studied at the prestigious RADA), he is aware that his success is down to more than his thespian prowess.
“I’m not an idiot. I know how it all works and I know why the producers want me to take my top off occasionally," he told Chloe Fox for the April issue of British Vogue. "But I reckon it’s about time that male actors experience the sort of objectification that actresses have been putting up with for years.”
The last year has been something of a metamorphosis for the actor, which - as well as being full of chatter about his career-changing roles and good looks - has been rife with rumours that he is the favourite to secure one of the most famous big-screen roles: James Bond. Quite the turnaround for Norton, who worked as a children's entertainer when he first graduated from drama school, and one that isn't lost on the actor - for good and bad reasons.
“On paper, I should have been happier than ever but I’ve rarely felt so low," he recalled of his emotions last year. "I had been flown over for the Golden Globes and stayed in town to promote Grantchester, but for all the heady, boozy, all-expenses-paid fun of it, I was actually just really lonely and really confused by what was happening to my life.”
For now, though, Norton only has one thing to lament about: not seeing his girlfriend, fellow War & Peace actress Jessie Buckley, who has gone on location for three months.
"We normally have a three-week rule, but this time I don’t think it’s going to work," he said. "It’s horrible."
Read the full interview in the April issue of British Vogue, on newsstands now. Or subscribe to Vogue here for only £19.99 for 12 issues including a free gift and free instant access to the iPad/iPhone edition.